Philosophies of Murder

The Victorious RPG can be played in a variety of ways. Grim settings of Chaos, shades of gray, and little difference between views are available. Gilded settings, with a more Neutral view of life with black and white as well as gray viewpoints. Finally there’s Grand, a Lawful romp of 4-color heroes that are always good battling moustache-twirling evil fiends who have little to no redemptive value.

When I am asked about how I play Victorious in my home game, I must admit to a Gilded setting with touches of humor and Grim elements to balance things out. One of the things I like to emphasize is that heroines are generally Good and villains are generally Evil. There can be corruption of good and redemption of evil, but sides tend to be clearly drawn, at least among the SuperMankind. Mortals and their organizations? Well, that’s different.

One of the paradigms I promote in my home chronicle is that heroes don’t kill their enemies. This isn’t a unbreakable law, but it better have a damn good reason to be broken for society and fellow heroes to accept the deed. Some view this as a quaint old comics paradigm from the pre-1990s and heroes like Superman and Spiderman, not Punisher or Lobo.

Yet there’s a quite rational reason for this rule, among others. Think about it, mortal society of the 1890s are seeing men who can kick down walls, women who summon elemental forces to smash mobs, or automatons smashing through downtown cities. This is frankly terrifying, and thus certain rules make the non-super society feel reassured.

If you were mayor of Metropolis, and a SuperMankind with the power of John Henry or Thunderbolt were casually stomping or sizzling through your city; wouldn’t you feel just a bit powerless? Dependent on the good intentions of those heroes, because you know it’s unlikely your own police or National Guard could stop them if they decided to do something you didn’t like? However, if in the same position you know for sure that John Henry has a strong moral code against murder, even for those he feels deserves it…well, that can be reassuring to authorities or notables within a society.

Here’s another view, based loosely on DC’s “Kingdom Come” graphic novel of the late 1990s. If villainous SuperMankind believe that the “heroes” they are fighting will kill them if they lose…well, they’d be willing to do more damage to both the heroes and their surroundings as well. Kill nearby innocents? Smash vital infrastructure? Kill heroes in turn? All are possible against those SuperMankind who kill their foes on a regular basis.

SuperMankind villainy are human beings too. Well, except for The Machine, but I’m speaking in generalities here. A “heroine” kills a villain’s friend or lover? If that heroine has mundane connections and friends/relations, they could suddenly be targets in turn.

On the whole, avoiding killing where possible is better for everyone involved. Villains thrown into prison know that sooner or later they can try to escape, thus making it less likely they will fight to the death.

So, run your Victorious chronicles as you desire Good GM, but keep in mind that the viewpoint of heroes in a Fantasy RPG are different from those in a Victorious Superhero game!

Genteel Magistrate

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